The holiday season is here, but there is one big thing missing from many fans' usual TV diet — a Harry Potter movie marathon. Incredibly, the beloved fantasy series is not airing on TV throughout the month as it usually does, and there is just one major marathon planned for December. Thankfully, there are other ways to catch it.
The Harry Potter franchise is must-see material for many people, especially around the holidays. Each of the first six movies in the series cover one school year's worth of time, with Christmas at Hogwarts generally serving as an act break. Aside from that, they are family classics everyone can usually agree upon, so they are a good choice for big gatherings.
In years past, the Harry Potter movies would air on Freeform as one of the networks many holiday marathons throughout December. The streaming wars have changed all that, however, with big companies calling their intellectual property home for good. Disney-owned Freeform no longer has the rights to Harry Potter, and they are not playing on WarnerMedia's premium channel, HBO, either.
If you want to watch the Harry Potter movies on TV, you will have only two chances, and there is no time to view a marathon straight through. You can catch the first four movies on Syfy, spread out across the schedule from Saturday, Dec. 21 to Sunday, Dec. 23.
For more, you will have to wait until Christmas Eve. The series begins again on Dec. 24 at 10:30 a.m. ET on the USA Network, and even then only the first three movies play back-to-back. After that there is a break overnight, with the spinoff movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them playing at 11 p.m. ET.
The series picks back up at 1:37 p.m. ET on Christmas day, culminating in the sixth movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at 10:08 p.m. ET. The final two movies are not scheduled to air at all, nor is the Fantastic Beasts sequel, Crimes of Grindelwald.
Fans have been shocked by the absence of Harry Potter in the this year's holiday TV schedule, both in the U.S. and in the U.K., where there is a similar phenomenon, according to a report by Joe.ei. To make matters worse, the Harry Potter series is no longer streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now, as it used to be for subscribers.
From the looks of it, the only way to catch the movies online this month is to rent or purchase them from a digital store such as Amazon Prime Video, Google Play or iTunes.
Surprisingly, the series will not even be on HBO Max when it launches in May. According to a report by Deadline, NBCUniversal purchased exclusive streaming rights to the films back in 2016, in a deal that runs through 2025. It may be that the series will be on NBC's streaming service Peacock eventually, but it has not been announced yet. Until then, die-hard fans' best bet may be to buy the series for their home collection.